White Feather funds ACT
The White Feather Foundation is proud to support the following conservation initiatives of the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT).
Conserving traditional medicine in the Rio Negro
In 2010, in the Rio Negro river basin region of the northern Brazilian Amazon, ACT organized an international, cross-Amazonian gathering of 54 traditional healers, their apprentices and other indigenous authorities, continuing an annual institution begun in 2006 of assembling such key tribal figures across borders to discuss the future of their medicine and their traditions. A follow-up gathering in the center of the Colombian Amazon, a robust center of Amazonian shamanism, is scheduled for the fall of 2011 to build on the commitments and resolutions of the 2010 assembly. Because of the transportation costs involved, these gatherings are very expensive, but ACT continues to seek dedicated investment such as that from the White Feather Foundation because of the insistence of the participants that these encounters are of great help in their determined efforts to perpetuate their ancestral knowledge and promote their sustainable practices.
Helping women in Tepu produce their pepper
In the rainforest interior of the South American nation of Suriname, the Trio indigenous women of the small village of Tepu have developed a sustainable commercial forest product in order to generate very modest income for basic cash-economy needs that can’t be met locally, including school supplies for the village children. The 20 participating women cultivate, process, package and market pepper for sale in the urban center. The operation requires a modest annual investment to continue providing marketing training and essential supplies/equipment, the major part of the cost being expensive flights to the interior.
New outboard motors for the Waurá
ACT enjoys a longstanding working partnership with indigenous peoples of the Xingu Indigenous Reserve in the Brazilian Amazon. Possibly the most un-acculturated of these groups is the Waurá, a small but proud community that has resisted development and has fought hard to maintain their way of life. In recent months, their lands have been threatened by surrounding large-scale agriculture interests, so the Waurá have temporarily relocated 50 community members from their main village to the border area to guard against incursions. The Waurá are in dire straits nutritionally because they are not yet able to harvest food agriculturally and rely entirely on a diminishing supply of river fish for protein. Moreover, because they do not have a landing strip, they are not able to obtain food from the outside world. With the help of White Feather funding, ACT will purchase an outboard motor for the Waurás’ canoes so that they can travel up- or downriver into neighboring villages for food and medical assistance. The motorized craft will also enable the Waurá to clean the river of debris carried from upriver and transport this refuse to neighboring towns with proper disposal sites. For the Waurá, a clean river means an increased likelihood of healthy fish stocks and by extension, healthy children.
We at ACT wish to express our deep gratitude to all at the Foundation and to convey the sincere appreciation of the ancient peoples that you have so manifestly helped. – Liliana Madrigal, ACT Vice Program of Programs.